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  1. #81
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    After reading the whole thread again, I'd like to attempt to clear up what I see as a running point of confusion, concerning only there's/there is.

    Some people (myself and Declerk are two) are implying that There is a hammer and a screwdriver is correct (grammatically). For these people, there's is merely a contracted form, meant only to represent the pronunciation of there is. There is no difference at all between the two forms other than a phonological difference. A simple way to put this view is that the contracted written form is a way of writing spoken English whereas the uncontracted form is written English. To a grammarian or a logician, there are no differences between any contracted and uncontracted forms in English because these people are unconcerned with phonology.

    Other members seem to me to be implying that there are other differences between the two forms, with the suggestion that there's can be used to do things that there is can't. In other words, the difference in form affects the grammar/logic. I don't see how this view can be justified.

    I failed to see this way back on the first page of the thread. In post #22, I was so surprised at what GoesStation and Piscean were saying because I apparently misunderstood what they meant. They were not in fact saying that There is a computer and a TV is wrong grammatically, as I came to believe—they were just saying that it's wrong in the sense of being so unnatural as to 'sound' wrong. Is that right, GS and Piscean?
    Last edited by jutfrank; 03-Dec-2020 at 15:47.

  2. #82
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    To a grammarian or a logician, there are no differences between any contracted and uncontracted forms in English because these people are unconcerned with phonology.
    There are clear differences in some forms.
    You can see that, can't you? cannot you?
    I'm right, aren't I? are not I?



    They were not in fact saying that There is a computer and a TV is wrong grammatically, as I came to believe—they were just saying that it's wrong in the sense of being so unnatural as to 'sound' wrong. Is that right, GS and Piscean?
    If pressed, I'd say that that form was wrong grammatically.
    Last edited by Piscean; 03-Dec-2020 at 17:21. Reason: Fix quote box.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

  3. #83
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    There are clear differences in some forms.
    You can see that, can't you? cannot you?
    I'm right, aren't I? are not I?
    What are the differences? I can't see any.

    If pressed, I'd say that that form was wrong grammatically.
    I don't know how you'd begin to justify that. Could you please try?

  4. #84
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean
    There are clear differences in some forms.
    You can see that, can't you? cannot you?
    I'm right, aren't I? are not I?
    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    What are the differences? I can't see any.
    In the first example, only the contracted form is acceptable. The uncontracted form cannot you is wrong. Can you not is possible, but that is not the uncontracted form of can't you.

    In the second, not only is are not I wrong, but even are I not is wrong.

    So, we have examples of utterances in which the contracted form is correct and natural; the uncontracted form is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean
    If pressed, I'd say that that form was wrong grammatically.
    I don't know how you'd begin to justify that.
    Then you didn't read post #47 very carefully. I wrote there:


    1A. In existential there + be sentences, the number (singular or plural) of the verb shows that the notional subject is the NP that follows it:

    1. There is a book on the table.
    2. There are some books on the table.

    1B. When the subject of a verb is [NP] and [NP], that subject takes the same verb form as a plural noun does:

    3. John is in the garden.
    4. Mary is in the garden.
    3. John and Mary are in the garden.
    5. A computer is essential these days.
    6. A mobile phone is essential these days.
    7. A computer and a mobile phone are essential these days.

    1A + 1B. It therefore seems reasonable to accept [8] below as natural and correct:

    8. There are a computer and a TV in my room.

    Typoman - writer of rongs

  5. #85
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    . . . 1A + 1B. It therefore seems reasonable to accept [8] below as natural and correct:

    8. There are a computer and a TV in my room.
    Can you doubt it? It's certainly natural and correct in the US. Two things are in the room: a computer and a TV.

    In casual conversation, Americans often use there's — not because it's grammatical (we don't care about that), but because it rolls off the tongue more easily than there are.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 04-Dec-2020 at 03:15.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. #86
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    In the first example, only the contracted form is acceptable. The uncontracted form cannot you is wrong. Can you not is possible, but that is not the uncontracted form of can't you.

    In the second, not only is are not I wrong, but even are I not is wrong.

    So, we have examples of utterances in which the contracted form is correct and natural; the uncontracted form is not.
    This is not what I meant. Let's abandon this line, if you don't mind. The thread is becoming too complicated as it is, and my point here is not very relevant or interesting.

    you didn't read post #47 very carefully. I wrote there:
    I'm sorry, I can't see any justification there at all. It doesn't concern the point I'm raising in any way. It looks like you've simply copied this information from somewhere. A careful reading of my post #81 reveals that my question is how to justify saying that There is a computer and a TV is wrong whereas There's a computer and a TV is right. If I understand correctly, you are saying that it isn't just a matter of naturalness. Could you point out exactly what you consider to be wrong?

  7. #87
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    No.

    I have said all I wish to say on this topic.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

  8. #88
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    It looks like you've simply copied this information from somewhere.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

  9. #89
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: "There is a computer and a TV."

    Thread closed.

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